Premier League: Every Goal of the Season ranked from worst to best

  • Kobe Tong

The Premier League has played host to some corking goals since its inception in 1992.

Besides, you can’t spend four decades attracting the best players in the world and not witness some mind-blowing goals in the process.

But if there’s one downside to the abundance of screamers flooding England’s top division, it’s how tough the Goal of the Season competition can often become. 

Our recent look at the astonishing Goal of the Month competition from December 2006 proves that point better than anything else, featuring unreal goals from Paul Scholes, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba to name just three.

However, this is the Premier League and even those three worldies couldn’t top the vote for 2006/07, so we decided to up the ante and highlight every Goal of the Season winner in particular.

Ranking Goals of the Season

Using the Premier League’s official video list, we decided to rank the 27 strikes from worst to best in order to separate the corkers from the bangers and the belters from the crackers.

So, without further ado, check out our ranking of the greatest goals the Premier League has ever seen – in the opinion of whatever process was used to select them, anyhow – down below:

27. Jack Wilshere vs West Bromwich Albion (2014/15)

Speaking of the processes… Arsenal fans hijacked Match of the Day’s voting system, which was duly ditched the next season, to unfairly hand the title to Wilshere for a second consecutive year.

This crashing strike, while decent, can’t hold a candle to Charlie Adam’s halfway-line goal at Chelsea, Jermain Defoe’s belter against Newcastle or even Angel Di Maria’s Leicester lob.

26. Shaun Bartlett vs Leicester City (2000/01)

Look, there’s no denying the complexity of the technique here, but it’s not a strike you’re going to tell your grandkids about, especially when it rippled the bottom corner as opposed to the top.

However… who allowed this to be selected as the Goal of the Season over Thierry Henry’s wonder strike against Manchester United? It’s far more unique, difficult, dramatic and downright iconic.

25. Wayne Rooney vs Bolton Wanderers (2006/07)

Is it just us that have always been a little underwhelmed by this goal? It’s a stunning counterattack, sure, but we think the fact it’s Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo is responsible for it being so overrated.

Besides, this is the same season where Scholes scored THAT volley in off the crossbar against Aston Villa and Essien defied the laws of physics with his winner at home to Arsenal. Very strange.

24. Robin van Persie vs Aston Villa (2012/13)

Simply put, this is another strike that, while absolutely fantastic, has been overblown because it secured the title for United in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season and came amidst an RVP hat-trick.

It’s an absolute rip-roarer, we’re not debating that, but there are at least 20 Goals of the Season that are better if we’re being completely objective and ignoring the significance of the volley.

23. Matthew Le Tissier vs Blackburn Rovers (1994/95)

We feel a little nonplussed by this one – within the context of all these belters, of course – and it’s by no means the best Premier League goal that Le Tissier ever scored out of his 100.

So, while the turn of skill and rarely-seen cross-goal strike over Tim Flowers is undoubtedly worthy of its place in YouTube compilations, we can’t have it rubbing shoulders with the best of the best.

22. Emmanuel Adebayor vs Tottenham Hotspur (2007/08)

Something of a forgotten gem, there’s a real beauty to a player deliberately using their first touch to tee up a crashing volley and Adebayor deployed that very technique with devastating effect in the North London Derby.

That being said, there are a few players further down the list who improved on this method from further out and with even more power. Plus, we’re inclined to think Ronaldo’s Portsmouth free-kick was a shade better…

21. Glen Johnson vs Hull City (2008/09)

We’re really starting to enter elite territory now and it’s credit to the constant stream of Premier League wonder-goals that this unfairly underrated strike from Johnson just misses the top 20.

Controlling the ball on his chest and ambitiously firing a volley on his supposedly weaker left peg, this was the definition of ‘sweet spot’ and dipped just beneath the crossbar to find the top corner.

20. Paolo Di Canio vs Wimbeldon (1999/00)

Is it a tad overrated? Without doubt. Is it still an inspired strike from an inspired player? Yes.

Di Canio’s maverick persona has bloating this goal’s reputation a little, but there’s still an undoubted poetry to the slow-motion footage of the West Ham legend hovering like a hummingbird to scissor the ball into the far corner.

19. Rod Wallace vs Tottenham Hotspur (1993/94)

The first solo goal on the list deserves far more air-time than it’s given, even though we think it’s the weakest of the bunch, but come on, he picked up the ball fully 30 yards into his own half.

And a la Gareth Bale in the 2014 Copa del Rey final, Wallace proceeds to bomb down the touchline, leaving Tottenham bodies in his wake, before finishing it off with a superb strike into the far corner.

18. Sofiane Boufal vs West Bromwich Albion (2017/18)

Speaking of running from your own half… we think Boufal’s individual strike is very similar to that of Wallace’s, but the addition of skill moves and literally colliding defenders into each other gives this the edge.

Boufal seemed to motor down the pitch like a locomotive, but also in the slow-motion at the same time, and to finish off the mazy run with a Ronaldinho-like shimmy renders this underrated magic.

17. Dietmar Hamann vs Portsmouth (2003/04)

We called Johnson’s goal against Hull as the definition of ‘sweet spot’, didn’t we? Yeh, scrap that, because seldom has a volley been hit with such venom than when Hamann produced THIS at Anfield.

The technique might not have been flashy, it might not have been postage stamp and it wasn’t from 40 yards out, but we can’t not reward a volley that flew from boot to goal like a bullet from a gun.

16. Thierry Henry vs Tottenham Hotspur (2002/03)

We’re back to the individual goals and Henry taking on the entire Spurs team on derby day is simply unforgettable, even if we think his solo effort against Liverpool the following year might have been better.

That said, seeing the Frenchman glide from his own half to the other is footballing poetry in motion, never mind when it’s rounded off with a pair of shoulder faints and a crushing weak-foot finish.

15. Muzzy Izzet vs Tottenham Hotspur (1998/99)

In many ways, this is very similar to Hamann’s Goal of the Season, but the fact Izzet was practically forced to stretch for this volley and fire it fully across the goal makes it all the more impressive.

The speed at which the Tottenham clearance came his way made shooting look nonsensical, so barraging it back towards goal was like a beautiful forehand in tennis and we can’t stop watching it.

14. Dalian Atkinson vs Wimbledon (1992/93)

Atkinson looked to be closer to his penalty area than the halfway line when he picked up the ball and before you know it, three Wimbledon players were debating whether they chose the right career path.

But it was when the Villa striker ploughed into the final third that he turned the levels of bad-assery up to 11, crowning this as a legendary Goal of the Season by chipping the ‘keeper from fully 25 yards.

13. Tony Yeboah vs Wimbledon (1995/96)

When it came to wonder-goals, Yeboah was an absolute wizard and there seemed to be a controlled madness with which he juggled and dribbled the ball as the ‘Crazy Gang’ closed in.

To then finish that off with a thunderous volley that rattled in off the crossbar as so many legendary goals do means this deserves its place amongst the Premier League’s finest ever strikes.

12. Dennis Bergkamp vs Leicester City (1997/98)

We’re delighted that this moment of divine inspiration from Bergkamp gets the credit it deserves because strikes of a similar nature – Luis Suarez vs Newcastle, cough, cough – are so often neglected.

Bergkamp seemed to be playing an entirely different sport to everybody when he controlled the diagonal ball from the sky, fooled the defender like he had glue on his boots and casually stroked it into the net.

11. Emre Can vs Watford (2016/17)

The first bicycle kick on the list and there’s just something so aesthetic about the way Can fluidly marries the diagonal ball into an acrobatic volley, sumptuously picking out the far corner.

However, we don’t want to reward Can’s strike too much because, frankly, it remains scandalous that Olivier Giroud’s scorpion kick, which won the Puskas award, wasn’t named as the winner this season.

10. David Beckham vs Wimbledon (1996/97)

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the top 10 and what better way to get us started than with our first goal from the halfway line?

As well as being an iconic Premier League moment, there can be no denying the outrageous skill and accuracy required for Beckham to possibly lob the goalkeeper from 50 yards out. Incredible.

9. Papiss Demba Cisse vs Chelsea (2011/12)

Cisse could easily have put himself in Goal of the Season contention for his first goal at Chelsea that night, but the laws of physics simply didn’t apply to the Senegalese when he doubled up at the Bridge.

It’s still beggar belief how the Newcastle cult hero managed to create such an aggressive slice from the outside of his boot, creating an almost banana-like trajectory, to completely baffle Petr Cech.

8. Maynor Figueroa vs Stoke City (2009/10)

Figueroa might not have the name status of Beckham, but this halfway line wonder-strike certainly trumps the United legend for the greater distance and, above everything else, the sheer ingenuity.

It takes a certain amount of inspiration to even consider hitting a quick free-kick first time from your own half as a shot, never mind managing to float it over the goalkeeper’s head and ripple the far top corner(!!!).

7. Dele Alli vs Crystal Palace (2016/17)

As we get higher and higher on the list, the inspiration and invention behind the finish is becoming increasingly important and Alli’s goal right out of FIFA Street emphasises that point better than most.

During his breakthrough season at Spurs, the England midfielder humiliated Mile Jedinak by flicking the ball over his head and sensationally volleying home into the bottom corner before it even touched the turf.

6. Dennis Bergkamp vs Newcastle United (2001/02)

But sorry Dele, we’re afraid Bergkamp edges the battle of ingenuity with the moment he turned football into a game of magic and illusion, bodying Newcastle’s Nikos Dabizas with a grand misdirection.

The Dutch wizard stooped to one side of the defender after flicking the ball to the other, before collecting it with his super-glue touch and providing a nonchalant finish just as he did at Leicester.

5. Matthew Taylor vs Sunderland (2005/06)

You just don’t volley a football from 45 yards out, you just don’t. Well, unless you’re Taylor, of course.

This wasn’t the first time that Taylor crashed home a stunner of this nature, but we’re not sure the Portsmouth midfielder has hit one better in his life. The sheer shock factor of this goal makes it top 10-worthy alone.

4. Andros Townsend vs Crystal Palace (2018/19)

Townsend is another player who always has an eye for the spectacular and we couldn’t not reward a strike that was so incredible that it was nominated for the most recent FIFA Puskas award.

The Palace midfielder simply had no right to volley the ball first time when it dropped towards his boot from 30 yards out, but he still managed a thunderous connection that rocketed underneath the crossbar.

3. Patrik Berger vs Charlton Athletic (2004/05)

We’re going out on a limb and saying this is the most underrated Premier League goal in history… how on earth isn’t this shown more often?

The speed at which Berger baffles the defender with a flicked touch before volleying it from more than 25 yards over the goalkeeper into the far top corner is a piece of footballing art. It’s just so darn aesthetically pleasing.

2. Jack Wilshere vs Norwich City (2013/14)

The greatest team goal the Premier League has ever seen. It’s often skated over that this passing move started well within Arsenal’s half, before escalating into some alien-like chemistry between the forwards.

Seeing Santi Cazorla, Giroud and Wilshere combine as though they have a telepathic connection never gets old and nor does the aplomb with which the first-time finishes puts the icing on the cake.

1. Wayne Rooney vs Manchester City (2010/11)

Some say it came off his ankle or shin. We say: who the hell cares?

In what was a pretty disappointing season for Rooney, the United legend produced the greatest bicycle kick in Premier League history and it couldn’t have been more pleasing on the eye.

The deflection on Nani’s cross floated it in the air perfectly and Rooney rose what seemed like 10 metres into the air to meet it perfectly, walloping the postage-stamp past a statuesque Joe Hart.

Combine that with an iconic celebration and it’s no surprise that it was voted the Premier League’s greatest ever goal as well as the finest that Ferguson had ever seen. Simply legendary.

Separating the greatest from the great

And breathe. This was so, so hard to organise.

Wilshere’s 27th-placed volley is perhaps the only strike that leaves a sour taste in the mouth, but meddling Arsenal fans aside, there’s not a single finish that isn’t worthy of merit.

It’s for that very reason that we felt so uncomfortable putting goals like Rooney and Ronaldo’s counterattack vs Bolton and Le Tissier’s long-range strike against Blackburn so far down.  

But as we said at the top of the article, the Premier League is so knee-deep in quality that even some of the mind-bending strikes just aren’t good enough to compete with the very best.

Besides, in the words of Martin Tyler, the number one simply defies description.

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